A scandalous double homicide in the nation's capital opens the psychological case files on Detective Alex Cross. Until Kay Willingham's shocking murder inside a luxury limousine, the Georgetown socialite, philanthropist, and ex-wife of the sitting vice-president led a public life. Yet few, including her onetime psychologist, had any inkling of Kay's troubled past in the Deep South. Murdered alongside her is Randall Christopher, a respected educator whose political ambitions may have endangered both their lives. While John Sampson of DC Metro Police tracks Randall's final movements, Alex Cross and FBI Special Agent Ned Mahoney travel to Alabama to investigate Kay's early years. They discover that although Kay had many enemies, all of them needed her alive. Alex is left without a viable suspect, even as he faces a desperate choice between breaking a trust and losing his way, as a detective, and as the protector of his family.